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Friday, July 16, 2010

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: In a Heartbeat by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy


Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving

Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy share how their family’s lives changed In a Heartbeat

First came the best-selling book, then the Oscar-nominated movie; the story of Michael Oher and the family who adopted him has become one of the most celebrated true stories of our time. The Blind Side—both the New York Times #1 bestseller and the Hollywood blockbuster—introduced the world to Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, the Memphis couple who was out for a morning drive when they saw young Michael Oher walking alone along the side of the road. They stopped the car that day, and their lives changed in a heartbeat. That’s the story we all know, but now, for the first time, the remarkable couple depicted in The Blind Side tells their own story, and “The story is greater than we are,” explains Leigh Anne. The Tuohy family story demonstrates that taking a chance on someone is worth the risk.

In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy with Sally Jenkins (Henry Holt, July 13, 2010) takes readers on an extraordinary journey of faith and love and shares unforgettable lessons about the power of giving. The Tuohys’ deeply inspiring memoir offers readers a detailed picture of a family that makes giving a way of life, the huge blessings that decision has brought to them, and the ways we can all make a difference in our own communities.

Just a few of the lessons in generosity from the Tuohys include:

If you can’t give something big, give something small.

“Get one, give one”—when you receive something, give part of it away.

Giving does not mean enabling—before you give intelligently, you have to learn the value of a dollar.

Generosity starts at home.

One aspect of the story that people haven’t heard is just how close the Tuohys came to continuing on their way without giving Michael a second thought, as so many others must have done. “I was going to keep on driving,” Sean Tuohy says.

Adjusting to their new life with Michael was not without its complications, and the Tuohys speak frankly about the issues faced by everyone in the family. All three Tuohy kids reflect on their experiences. In a Heartbeat reveals:

How bringing Michael into their lives was as much an awakening for the Tuohys as it was for him.

The awkward gaps they confronted between privileged and poor and black and white, and how the family worked together to bridge them.

Their worries and concerns at several stages in their growing relationship with Michael.

The Tuohys’ goal is not so much to tell their own story but to show others how they can make a difference, one person at a time. “There are a million Michaels,” Leigh Anne says. “Not every kid has the potential to become a star player in the NFL, but that kid may be the person who grows up to cure cancer, or who becomes a great husband or wife to someone.” Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohys’ compelling, funny, and profoundly inspiring voices encourage readers to move past the “no” in their heads and follow the “yes” in their hearts to see how—in a heartbeat—anyone can harness the power of giving to change the world.

The Tuohys believe The Blindside was so successful because people see themselves in the story, and that they too could make a difference. They wrote In a Heartbeat to show others how they can do something—big or small—to change someone’s life for the better. The Tuohys feel that it was their family that received the blessing in helping Michael, and they want others to receive the blessings that come with cheerful giving as well. “He had a much greater impact on our lives than we did on his life,” says Leigh Anne.

The Tuohys taught Michael what this book teaches all of us: Everyone has a blind side, but a loving heart always sees a path toward true charity.





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